How many bonsai enthusiasts visit bonsai sites on the Internet?

Status
Not open for further replies.

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
8,309
Reaction score
13,911
Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
I'm just curious. About what % of bonsai enthusiasts do you think visit bonsai sites on the Internet? I'm guessing a pretty low number - maybe 20%.
 

Boondock

Shohin
Messages
253
Reaction score
1
Location
Puyallup WA USA (zone 8)
Excellent question bNUT, and one that I have wondered as well. I think trying to calculate the total number of bonsai enthusiasts worldwide is a difficult task. My guess is that the majority of people interested in bonsai are 'lone wolfs" who either don't belong to a club, don't have a computer, or rely solely on a couple of books.

As the world becomes more "wired" the number of people who register and participate may increase. I bet there is also a small percentage of people who surf the bonsai forums regularly and either never register or register only to see the galleries. I read French, Italian, and German bonsai forums about monthly (with a little help from babelfish), but I've only registered and posted on the Italian one.

20% = 1 out of 5

I think that might be a bit high.
 
Messages
2,776
Reaction score
12
Location
Michigan, USA
USDA Zone
5
I'm just curious. About what % of bonsai enthusiasts do you think visit bonsai sites on the Internet? I'm guessing a pretty low number - maybe 20%.
This is a subject I have preached on for some time now. I think you're very high, I would almost guess about 1/2 of a percent based on the following observations.

Bonsai Today has 4000 + subscribers
Bonsai Europe has 12,000 subscribers.

Let's take the lowest number, 4000 subscribers and compare it to the active members of any forum, by active I mean members who post more than twice a month. Bnut might have 50 if we figure high, BT might have 100, IBC might have 200, so let's add them all together (and not subtract for duplicate members on each forum, which we know there are) and we get 350 active members total, on three forums. We can see that the forum active memberships are very low compared to the number of people who subscribe to Bonsai Today, even figuring as high as we did.

However, many bonsaists don't even subscribe to Bonsai Today either....

In my club, there may be ten people out of the lot that visit forums. The Ann Arbor Club, The bay City Club, and The Kalamazoo Club members I know have stated basically the same. This may not be a good enough sampling to make a solid conclusion, but it does show a trend.

Walter Pall once said, in relation to forums, this is not the bonsai community. Based on the numbers, he was correct, forums are indeed a very small percentage of bonsaists. Any of the bonsai magazines reach a larger audience than all of the forums combined and all of the bonsai magazines reach a number of readers that the forums just can't at this time.

The good news is that new people are finding the forums all the time, as younger people come into the art, more and more will use the Internet for education. For now, all a forum can do is to present the best they can.


My thoughts,


Will
 

BONSAI_OUTLAW

Banned
Messages
150
Reaction score
1
Location
Woodstown, NJ
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Boondock....That was funny...

With that being said, there are very few people in my club that actively participate on the forums.
 

cbobgo

Mame
Messages
161
Reaction score
0
Location
Santa Cruz, California
USDA Zone
9b
"actively participate in forums" is different than "visit forums." There are alot of people who surf the forums, but rairly post anything. Just like there are club members who rairly come to meetings - or they come to meetings, but rairly speak up or show their trees.

But clearly, the nubers are relatively low.

- bob
 

zelk

Shohin
Messages
408
Reaction score
296
Location
San DIego
USDA Zone
10a
However, many bonsaists don't even subscribe to Bonsai Today either....
Thats true and the number is dropping. lately i have noticed that many local subscribers are not going to keep on ordering the magazine due to the "poor quality, uninteresting topics and the republishing of old articles.
 
Messages
2,776
Reaction score
12
Location
Michigan, USA
USDA Zone
5
Thats true and the number is dropping. lately i have noticed that many local subscribers are not going to keep on ordering the magazine due to the "poor quality, uninteresting topics and the republishing of old articles.
Kinda off topic and discussed already elsewhere....however since you brought it up, the number hasn't dropped at all, in fact it is up from last year according to Wayne. It will most likely be up again this year as new bonsaist discover the magazine. What are you basing your presumptions on?

Bonsai Europe's 12,000 subscribers sounds fantastic and it is, but when you compare it to Bonsai Today, you must factor in the fact that Bonsai Europe is published in five different languages (they list six but separate English and American) and if you divide 14,000 by 5, you get 2800 subscribers per language (assuming all languages have an equal number of subscribers). All this said to show that Bonsai Today is still the largest American (and possibly English speaking) bonsai publication we have, I doubt it is in any trouble.

Sporadically, I read a few posts here and there where people threatened to unsubcribe to Bonsai Today because they published a few of my articles and even named me personally as the cause as to why the magazine is going downhill, for Pete's sake. ;) Even if those 5 or 6 people followed through, it would hardly dent the publication, but the really sad thing is that not a single person has ever found fault in the articles there, just in the author. Amazingly, nothing has ever been said about the other magazines I have been published in going downhill, etc...

Bonsai Today recently published the winners of a photo contest AoB co-sponsored with them (issue #106) and they are co-sponsoring The North America vs European Contest now also with AoB. It looks like Wayne realizes the value of the Internet for not only content, but also for new subscribers. He also stated in the letters section that he has listened to the complaints about ads, book reviews, and content and he is responding accordingly, issue #107 had six less pages of ads and he will seriously cut down on the book reviews as well.

This sounds like a magazine that is on the cutting edge of the Internet, that listens to it's readers, and that is still expanding, so why are the same old handful of people complaining still?

I wonder,


Will
 
Last edited:

Jon Chown

Yamadori
Messages
56
Reaction score
1
Location
Brisbane - Australia
Well, I'm over the whole Bonsai Europe, Bonsai Today debate. I believe that there is room for both publications and those who don't want to miss out on any little bit of information and can afford it will buy both.

On the issue of numbers of people visiting sites, I can see a direct comparrison to many other business efforts and agree with Wills' statement.

The good news is that new people are finding the forums all the time, as younger people come into the art, more and more will use the Internet for education. For now, all a forum can do is to present the best they can.

What is being set up today will be better received by the X and Y generations as so many of them are computer savvy and will be time poor. The only thing that scares me is, will I be able to read the posts?

Jon
 

Rick Moquin

Omono
Messages
1,245
Reaction score
8
Location
Dartmouth, NS Canada
USDA Zone
6a
+|-|@+'$ @ \/3|2`/ 600[) 0|}$3|2\/@+10|\|, (|-||21$! 1 j|_|$+ \X/0|\|[)3|2 |-|0\X/ |\/||_|(|-| |\/|0|23 (0|\/||\/||_||\|1(@+10|\| \X/1|| |23@||`/ |00|< |1|<3 +|-|1$
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
10
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
`/3@|-|, 1 +|-|0|_|6|-|+ @|}0|_|+ +|-|@+ 0|\|3 |}|_|+ 0|= (0|_||2$3, 1+ |00|<3[) |=@|2 +00 @|13|\|.

1 |*|20|*0$3 @ |2|_||3 +|-|@+ |23q|_|1|23$ @|| |}0|\|$@1|\||_|+ |*0$+$ +0 |}3 1|\| +|-|1$ |@|\|6|_|@63!
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
8,309
Reaction score
13,911
Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
7h47'5 4 v3ry 600d 0b53rv4710n, J0n! 1 ju57 w0nd3r h0w much m0r3 c0mmun1c4710n w1|| r34||y |00k |1k3 7h15!
Is it sad that I can understand this? :) You guys must play a lot of World of Warcraft PVP :)
 

Brent

Mame
Messages
208
Reaction score
200
Location
Lake County, Northern California
Maybe I'm just getting jaded, I know I'm getting old and cranky, but I am seeing a disturbing trend in the internet forums.
This trend is embracing beginners with strong computer skills and weak on bonsai skills, while the older more experienced crowd is slowly drifting away.

Now you can argue whether this is good, bad, or just a natural evolution of the electronic media, but I HATE it! Even Walter Pall (you don't even have to put his last name), the most conversant computer literate bonsai artist in the world rarely posts anywhere anymore. A few old bonsai farts like Vance Wood, Bonsai Al, and myself are still around, but it is getting awfully lonely at the top.

On the other hand, there is a plethora or mallsai, stick in pot, newbie posts. Plenty of useless banter, birthday bemusements, and squirrel/ rodent treatises. I go blind reading through the New Posts of half a dozen sites several times a day trying to find something, ANYTHING, to which I can respond. This forum started out as a refreshing outpost of good solid, meaty bonsai posts, but is already starting to dwindle into drivel. Maybe it's just that it's spring and that we are all busy as hell with our plants; I know I am. But sheesh, we can't all be THAT busy.

Another disturbing part of this trend is that every few months or so, a newbie comes along that is head and shoulders above the crowd, a person who just seems to grasp the issues and moves almost immediately beyond the stick in pot phase. This is always exciting for me, and I try to culture an online relationship with these folks to keep them interested and AROUND. Most of these people drop out after a couple of months or about a year. I don't know what they are doing, but they aren't participating in the forums anymore. On the otherhand, it seems like you can't get rid of some these mallsai folks short of burning them at the stake.

I know I am really being selfish here, but I don't care, I want ACTION. I get action by responding to a good meaty post, with good material and thoughful questions about design and how to achieve it. Sure, I could write articles in the forums that would get your juices going, but let's face it, I'm a business man. If I am going to take the time to compose and photograph an article, it ain't going here, it's going to my website or blog where it won't be dead and buried after two weeks. No, I participate in the educational process by responding to what you have to say and ask, and I think that's plenty to contribute.

What the internet does a marvelous job of is archiving the really good stuff. So if you have the time and the knack for finding it, you can discover an enormous amount of stored wisdom here. That part just keeps getting better, but that's a different issue. That's the library, I want the CAFE, the coffeehouse culture, that's the exciting and NEW aspects of almost any venture. I hope I don't have to wait another twenty years before these youngsters grow up to get what I want, because I probably won't be able to see the screen by then. Plus I want THEM to have the exposure to what people who have been at this for twenty or thirty years know and can do.

It just may be too much to hope for. Let's face it, this is a REALLY esoteric art, and even with four billion or six billion or whatever it is now people in the world, there are still only a relatively tiny number of us, way less than one thousandth of one percent, far fewer than quilters, fly fisherman, you name it. The internet held the promise to create the necessary critical mass by increasing the flux dramatically. Through the internet we can reach virtually everyone in the art, all over the world, but instead, as Will points out, we reach a few percent.

Why is this? I endlessly recommend the internet as a source of bonsai to my friends and anyone who shows even the slightest interest. Of our study group of six, only Bob and I use the internet to any degree, and that is probably skewed way to the high side. In our club REBS, the majority of the movers and shakers NEVER post to a forum, in fact, I can only think of one who does and then only rarely. These are people with plenty of talent and trees to die for, but you don't see them around here. How do we get a critical mass of THESE people? It isn't that they don't know how to use computers, that used to be the problem, but it isn't anymore, they all have email addresses these days. We better start thinking about this and finding solutions. It's either that or beginning to do most of our plant buying at Lowe's.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
 

Bonsai Nut

Nuttier than your average Nut
Messages
8,309
Reaction score
13,911
Location
OC, CA
USDA Zone
10A
Maybe I'm just getting jaded, I know I'm getting old and cranky, but I am seeing a disturbing trend in the internet forums.
I don't think this is a trend, rather it is the weakness (and strength) of the medium. For every post that I spend hours preparing (taking and resizing photos, etc) there will be several posts where I just want to react or respond to something. It is difficult to always feel like your posts have to be cutting edge and have to contribute to the greater good of the hobby. However I feel your pain - one of the reasons why I started this thread was because I have NEVER seen some of my old friends from the Midwest Bonsai Society on any Internet site, and I KNOW some of these folks have a lot to contribute. Many/most of the best bonsai artists I have met have not been the Internet "type". They would come to a site like this, post one suggestion, have it criticized, and never come back. Sad but true - they are quieter introspective folk that place a lot of weight behind their words, while sometimes the Internet lends itself too well to quips and off-the-cuff responses that aren't worth a heck of a lot (though they might be fun and add to an informal community feeling). It is a tough balance.

On another site I used to frequent (on a different topic area entirely) I had become, over the years, sortof the forum "expert". I wrote an extensive FAQ that is now widely published across the Internet. I spent hours talking and helping beginners. But after a while it started getting really old. I would come to the site and see the same questions being asked over and over - many of which were covered in the FAQ. I started reaching out to PhD's and posting more advanced technical articles, but I never got a broad positive response - rather I'd get one or two comments and then the community would quickly devolve back to HOBBY 101. After a while the more advanced hobbyists stopped posting (or stopped coming altogether).

When I created BonsaiNut I tried to create a site that would lend itself well to more advanced discussion. The numerous forums with very specific subjects will hopefully lend itself to specific discussion about those topics. Sometimes those forums only get one post per month. But hopefully over time they will generate a archive of quality material.

There will always be general "chatter" in the general forum, and friendly posts in the Karaoke bar. As far as "quality" goes, I hope it will be found throughout the site. However like my bonsai, which I look at a lot, and touch infrequently, it seems like I visit this site a lot, but only have the time and energy to post something of really high quality infrequently.
 

Dale Cochoy

Shohin
Messages
268
Reaction score
52
Location
Hartville, Ohio
USDA Zone
5
I am seeing a disturbing trend in the internet forums.
This trend is embracing beginners with strong computer skills and weak on bonsai skills, while the older more experienced crowd is slowly drifting away.

Another disturbing part of this trend is that every few months or so, a newbie comes along that is head and shoulders above the crowd, a person who just seems to grasp the issues and moves almost immediately beyond the stick in pot phase. Most of these people drop out after a couple of months or about a year. I don't know what they are doing, but they aren't participating in the forums anymore. On the otherhand, it seems like you can't get rid of some these mallsai folks short of burning them at the stake.

Brent
EvergreenGardenworks.com
see our blog at http://BonsaiNurseryman.typepad.com
Oh my gosh Brent,
It's almost like I've heard ( Or SAID) that before!
It's amazing how many real good bonsai people DON'T respond to any threads or visit the forums. Why should they show or talk about trees they've worked on for 10, 15 or 20 years only to have some guy with no trees or pots who has never fully styled a tree , wired it ,and kept it alive tell them whats wrong with their tree, where it SHOULD have branches, and what pot it ought to be in, how shallow the pot out to be, etc.
Your comment on "strong on computer skills and weak on bonsai skills" is so spot on!! Most "Talkers" just don't know how much they don't know!! and so often seem to confuse styling and growing a real bonsai with doing virtuals.
NNNOOOTTTHHHINNNGGG compares to experience.....
except maybe writing a book!:rolleyes:

Dale
 
Messages
2,776
Reaction score
12
Location
Michigan, USA
USDA Zone
5
Now you can argue whether this is good, bad, or just a natural evolution of the electronic media, but I HATE it! Even Walter Pall (you don't even have to put his last name), the most conversant computer literate bonsai artist in the world rarely posts anywhere anymore. A few old bonsai farts like Vance Wood, Bonsai Al, and myself are still around, but it is getting awfully lonely at the top.

On the other hand, there is a plethora or mallsai, stick in pot, newbie posts. Plenty of useless banter, birthday bemusements, and squirrel/ rodent treatises.

Hi Brent,

As we all know, there are some forums out there that discourage the mallsai, stick in pot, newbie posts, those are the ones usually criticized as being elitists. There are also plenty of good old boys still posting, just on forums where they think they can do so without the common beginners static. Walter Pall for example, has just recently posted a couple excellent articles on one such forum, other than that, he mainly reserves his posts for his blog now as he explained here.

Do the experienced practitioners tend to go where advanced content is, do they shy away from places where serious discussions can not be had? I think so, we could even use this very thread as an example where Bnut asked a serious question and most likely expected serious discussion on the topic, look back and see the posts made here, some are definitely off topic, facetious, way out in left field, how many times does a person looking for serious bonsai discussion have to see such before they move on to another thread, or to another forum all together?




Will
 
Messages
1,773
Reaction score
10
Location
Ottawa, KS
USDA Zone
6
Oh my gosh Brent,
It's almost like I've heard ( Or SAID) that before!
It's amazing how many real good bonsai people DON'T respond to any threads or visit the forums. Why should they show or talk about trees they've worked on for 10, 15 or 20 years only to have some guy with no trees or pots who has never fully styled a tree , wired it ,and kept it alive tell them whats wrong with their tree, where it SHOULD have branches, and what pot it ought to be in, how shallow the pot out to be, etc.
Your comment on "strong on computer skills and weak on bonsai skills" is so spot on!! Most "Talkers" just don't know how much they don't know!! and so often seem to confuse styling and growing a real bonsai with doing virtuals.
NNNOOOTTTHHHINNNGGG compares to experience.....
except maybe writing a book!:rolleyes:

Dale
Dale, I have never read or heard anything from you that I agreed with more. Here's where I think the highly computer-skilled can and do make a difference. Forums like this and others are a valuable contribution in their own way. I appreciate the work involved and wouldn't want to try it even if I had the computing knowledge. Heck, it's hard enough just to update my own website right now, being on dial-up!

Guys like Greg, Will, Paul, Matt, and others do provide a fairly free-form place to discuss things, and it looks like the quality ebbs and flows. Here's another request for the computer-geeky out there. Let's see a searchable index for back issues of Bonsai Today. Hell, I'd resubscribe just for a printed one that went beyond Issue 36!

How about it Will, would you do it?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads


Top Bottom